November 17th, 2009
12:05 PM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on health care reform

Washington (CNN) - Americans are split over the health care bill which narrowly passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, according to a new national poll - and the survey suggests the opposition to the legislation isn't coming only from the right.

But despite the controversy surrounding the health care bill, the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday suggests there has been no change in the Democratic Party's chances of keeping control of Congress in next year's midterm elections, or in President Barack Obama's standing with the public.

The survey suggests that 46 percent of Americans favor the bill, which passed in the House on November 7 by a 220 to 215 margin, with 49 percent of the public opposed to the legislation.

"Roughly one in three Americans opposes the House bill because it is too liberal, but one in 10 oppose the bill because it is not liberal enough," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "That may indicate that a majority opposes the details in the bill, but also that a majority may approve of the overall approach taken by House Democrats and President Obama."

As a result, despite the division over the House bill, a majority of Americans would like to see the Senate take up the legislation. Three in 10 people questioned in the survey want the Senate to pass the House bill with only minor changes, with another 22 percent wanting the Senate to pass the bill only if major changes are made. Another 28 percent feel the Senate should start from scratch and start working on a completely new bill, and 17 percent want Congress to stop working on health care reform altogether.

The poll indicates that Americans are split over whether it's likely the health care bill passed by the House will become law by the end of this year - but nearly six out of 10 feel it's likely that will happen by the end of 2010. "The public expects that a Democratically-controlled Congress and a Democratic president can get their act together on health care and pass something by next year," Holland says. "That puts pressure on the party to showcase some sort of accomplishment on health care by the time next year's midterm elections roll around."

Next November, all 435 seats in the House and more than a third in the Senate are up for grabs. Democrats currently hold a 258-177 advantage in the House, and a 20-seat advantage in the Senate.

According to the poll, 49 percent of those questioned would vote for the Democratic candidate in their congressional district, with 43 percent supporting the Republican. The generic ballot question asked respondents if they would vote for a Democrat or Republican in their congressional district, without naming any specific candidates.

"That 6-point margin is unchanged from an early November poll taken just before the dramatic health care vote on November 7," notes Holland. "The Democrats would certainly like their number to be higher, but the lack of movement suggests no blowback yet from the health care vote on the party's electoral chances next year."

The survey also indicates that the president's standing with the public has remained steady: His approval rating was 54 percent in early November, and stands at 55 percent now.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted November 13-15, with 1,014 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Full results (pdf)

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Health care • President Obama
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Ed J

    This is why CNN is failing (or shrinking). Misleading headline touting misleading information. Months og negativity, falsehoods (unchallenged and encouraged at CNN) paint an inaccurate picture, the basis for an uninformed opinion, plus add the clods who think tort reform will do the trick . . .

    With all the time, talent, and money, it would be nice if all networks spent more than 5 minutes and two people shouting at each other to explain an issue . . .

    November 17, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Mojo

    Anyone else find it ironic that the insurance industry has spent hundreds of millions in advertising and lobbying against this bill, meanwhile, our premiums have gone up 89% since 2001?

    November 17, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. Jim

    I haven't met a single person who doesn't want something to happen with health care. It costs too much and we're being ripped off and we know it. This bill may not be perfect, but I doubt that any bill would be. The Republican suggestions for opening insurance for purchase across state lines is a joke. Its a race to the bottom just like credit card regulation was when it happened across state lines.

    November 17, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. strong

    Jeez ... all this talk on health care is making me sick.

    November 17, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. DinkyD

    Yes... healthcare does need to be reformed, I think we all can agree on that BUT WE DO NOT WANT OBAMACARE!!! Why is it if we say we're against his plan, we're against healthcare reform as a whole? WE ARE NOT!! Again ~ we don't want Obamacare!! If the entire country is in an uproar about this, you would think the idiots in Washington would stop and go back to the drawing board...

    November 17, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Paul

    I spent five days in intensive care this year with a leaking heart valve and my wife had two cataract operations. Our cost? Nothing. We're Canadian. Try it and you won't go back.

    November 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. a little sad

    Why don't people realize that a single payor system, which would remove the burden of paying for healthcare from the employers, is actually the most pro-business and pro-employment option there is?

    Right now US businesses are at an economic disadvantage because the cost of healthcare is factored into most production costs.

    Most industrialized nations have their businesses in effect subsidized by the government because the government covers the health insurance costs. Their businesses can compete more on actual production costs.

    Small businesses are at more of a disadvantage in two ways – first because if they supply healthcare the cost to them per employee is generally higher, and second because the pool of potential employees are generally stripped of the "cream" because the benefits at large companies are generally better.

    Going to a single payor system would increase the competitiveness of US businesses significantly. Which would translate into businesses being in a better postion to hire more workers.

    November 17, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. b

    Do people here really think that the poor will benefit from this? Do you think it will be free??? Obamacare is nothing more than the GOVT telling you, that you have to have it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you not understand this?? Either pay for it or be fined!! Everyone that thinks Obamacare is good for our Country... Please explain why that is!!! and how it will benefit the poor and the ones that just plain dont want insurance....

    Any takers??

    November 17, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Tim

    We have other thing to work out then heathcare .we need jobs and our Troops so why are we spending more money on heathcare

    November 17, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    Do any of you supporting this bill see the irony in the fact that in order to pay for this program they say they will clamp down on Medicare fraud? This accounts for billions of dollars a year.
    A. They don't know how or they would have been more successful already and,
    B. Medicare fraud will be peanuts compared to Obamacare fraud. We know that. How will they address fraud in this program? It will be significant, just like it is in Medicare. Can we afford that?

    November 17, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. reggie

    i'm amazed by the number pf people who believe they are the only ones in america that work. You do not have to be lazy or stupid to noth have coverage. pass the bill

    November 17, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. glib lib

    People just don't get it. We already pay for people who don't pay their hospital bills. You really think it costs $10 dollars for an aspirin at the emergency room. Or $60 bucks for a bandage. No! We already subsidize people who don't pay with higher rates.

    November 17, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. JIm

    Health Car Reform is a joke and if you believe this 1900 pages of lies think again....never pass and with elections comming the Dem's will hide

    November 17, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Tom

    The fortunate select that have good insuarnce now won't in the future. It's just a matter of time. I once had great insurance, but lost it when I was laid off. If we don't unite with reform, we better not gripe later. It's time to wise up for heavens's sake!!!!!

    November 17, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Allison

    FACT: Democrats want healthcare for everyone. Republicans don't.

    November 17, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Silence Dogoode

    Americans who read and unerstand the US Constitution know that this bill is illegal. It is also immoral as it will enslave our future generations. It is unethical as those who would vote to pass it are going against their promise to uphold the constitution.

    November 17, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Gary

    Once they pass their bill we should all go on government run Health Care, break the bank and start over. Start over with real reform not another government run entitlement program.

    November 17, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. mary

    this reform must pass. It may not be perfect but it's a good start.
    It seems that people are bitter because Obama wants everybody insured. I don't think all the people that are without insurance are lazy and don't want to pay for it. Perhaps they lost their job with benefits and have a large family and just can't afford it. Has anybody had to buy insurance outright.
    You would be very surprised how expensive it is and not good coverage.
    What happens when hospitals go bankrupt because people can't afford to pay their bills.
    People quit complaining and just be happy you have insurance for now.
    What position would you be in if you lost you job?

    November 17, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Paul Leinweber

    To Funny... When peoplle proclaim to be "independants" while they decry "pass health care". Yet they have user names like "Obama 2.0". Just goes to show the lack of intellegence out there coming from the left.

    November 17, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Maxwell K

    The important point to take from this story is that the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT REFORM. The only reason it appears likeit's a close debate is because a significant number of people believe the bill doesn't go far enough.

    I'm convinced that those on the Right who oppose the bill, actually oppose the rumors and myths of the bill they have been spoon fed by De facto opposition sources. There is also a movement among some of the intellectually lazy to simply oppose EVERYTHING Obama does because it's easier than thinking of solutions themselves.

    November 17, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. bco

    You ran a poll to find out if Americans support a health care reform bill. The answer was clearly "yes," since you report that:

    "...one in 10 oppose the bill because it is not liberal enough..."

    Yes it is true that some of us wish the bill went further than the current versions do. But that is very different from saying that we oppose "health care reform."

    Given the results that you've reported, I think it is very misleading to write a headline suggesting that even a slight majority of Americans oppose health care reform.

    That's not what the poll says.

    November 17, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Dennis

    There's nothing in the house bill that really reduces costs. Medicare payments to doctors will be reduced but that will just make it harder for those on medicare to find a health care provider. Many people complain about the insurors getting rich, but in reality there's about 5% prifit level. something must be done to reduce costs at the point of delivery.

    November 17, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Marie Laveaux

    If any of you who so vehemently oppose health care reform bothered to watch Frontline on PBS last Friday, you would have seen why a public option can and does work for many industrialized countries, including Japan.The pros and cons were equally shown for each type of system that offered universal healthcare. If we adopted the best ideas from each of these nation's programs, and did away with the rest, we could do it very effectively here in the U.S. The bottom line is that if you offer a basic plan, like the one most of us have, we can cut costs and insure everyone. The conervatives in Swizerland said the world would end of they passed their universal plan, they passed it, and even the most vocal opponent says it's great. Every argument
    against universal healthcare being the end of America is a lie.

    November 17, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Ed

    It is true Americans are not split and want health care reform. However, it is not true that Americans do not want Obama's version of health care reform. They are split on Obama's version of health care reform. It is also not true that the administration lied about the Stimulus and job creation. The truth is they made a mistake is estimating the ability of the stimulus package to keep the unemployment below 10%. It doesn't help to use inflammatory language and lie about the facts.

    November 17, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Sam Sixpack

    Your story says 67% want the House bill either majorly changed or thrown out all together (22% + 28% + 17% = 67%).

    Then you claim "Americans are split over the health care bill which narrowly passed the House of Representatives earlier this month."

    I suppose you must have meant to say Americans are "split" 2 to 1 against this scam.

    November 17, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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